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Exemptions and petitions

Do you want to request a change to the academic requirements set by your study programme? Perhaps you want to be exempted from a particular course, because you think you have already acquired the knowledge elsewhere. Or do you want academic credits earned at another institution to be counted towards your studies in Leiden? If so you can submit a special request, known as a petition.

Speak to your study adviser or study coordinator about how to request an exemption or submit a petition of another nature. In most cases petitions must be submitted via uSis. However check first under the faculty or study programme tab whether any special procedures are in place.

The final decision on your petition will be made by your institute’s Board  of Examiners.

Petitions in uSis

In most cases, if you want to request a change to your academic requirements you can submit a petition via uSis. For example if you want to be exempted from certain academic requirements, have study credits earned abroad recognised as part of your Leiden studies, or receive a different amount of credits for part of your curriculum. There are five types of petition:  

  • Exemption
    Use this kind of petition if you want to request exemption from a particular part of your study programme. Sufficient materials must be submitted to support your request.
  • Different amount of study credits
    Use this kind of petition if you want to request an amount of study credits for an element of your study programme that differs from the amount stated in the prospectus. Sufficient materials must be submitted to support your request. If the study element does not have a pre-specified number of study credits there is no need to submit a petition. Instead you should make arrangements directly with your study programme.
  • Extra-curricular course
    Use this type of petition if you want to have an academic element from Leiden University’s prospectus included as one of your extra-curricular study elements.
  • Replacement
    Use this type of petition if you want to replace an element of your study programme with another element from Leiden University's prospectus. This type of petition can be used, for example, for electives courses.
  • External education
    Use this type of petition if you have taken a course at an institution other than Leiden University, and want it to count towards your study programme in Leiden. This type of petition could be used, for example, for elective credits or extra-curricular courses followed elsewhere. Petitions of this nature are always provisionally approved, then definitively evaluated upon receipt of documentary evidence.

You must submit a petition as soon as you realise that you want to change your academic requirements, which means as quickly as possible and before you follow the academic element in question. For information relevant to your particular situation please contact your programme’s education administration office.

No petitions on top of petitions

Once you have submitted a petition you cannot submit another one for the same academic element, irrespective of the status of the petition. If you change your mind, or realise you have submitted the wrong type of petition, you must first withdraw the petition before you can submit a new one for that particular academic element.

Withdrawing a petition

To withdraw a petition you must send an email to the education administration office of your study programme with the subject ‘withdrawal of petition number xxx’, with xxx being the petition number as stated in the confirmation email you received. Make sure to state your student number in your email and the reason for withdrawing your petition. Await confirmation that your petition has been withdrawn before taking further action.

Supporting materials

All petitions must be clearly but briefly substantiated. In addition, petitions for exemptions, different amounts of study credits and external education, must also be accompanied by supporting materials. When requesting an exemption, your supporting materials must be submitted at the same time as your petition. For petitions concerning different amounts of study credits or external education, your supporting materials (usually a transcript of grades) can be submitted after the academic element in question. Make sure to submit the materials as soon as you can. If you wait too long you run the risk that your results will no longer be counted towards your academic requirements. The required documentation can vary from programme to programme, so always check with your programme administration what you need to submit, when, and in what format (hard copy or digital) well in advance.


If you do not agree with the outcome of your petition you can formally appeal against the decision. You can do so by sending a letter to the Examination Appeals Board within six weeks of the date of issue of the decision in question. In this letter, your formal appeal, state why you disagree with the decision. Make sure to include supporting materials and examples.

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